The Writers Guild of America has announced the nominees for the 2014 WGA Awards. The lists — adapted and original screenplay, documentary screenplay — mostly feature the expected titles, in addition to a handful of surprises chiefly because several of this year's top contenders for screenplay awards have failed to meet the WGA's strict eligibility rules.
Among the out-of-contention screenplays for the 2014 WGA Awards were John Ridley's 12 Years a Slave, Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope's Philomena, Asghar Farhadi's The Past, Abdellatif Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix's Blue Is the Warmest Color, William Nicholson's Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Peter Morgan's Rush, Destin Daniel Cretton's Short Term 12, and Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station.
The winners of the 2014 WGA Awards will be announced on February 1 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York City. All 12,000 or so Writers Guild of America members are eligible to vote for the winners; how many actually do bother to vote is anyone's guess.
Woody Allen is back
For Best Original Screenplay, out of 54 eligible entries, the WGA Awards 2014 nominees are Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell for American Hustle, directed by Russell, and starring Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, and Jennifer Lawrence; Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine, directed by Allen, and starring Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, and Alec Baldwin; Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack for Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, and starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, and Jennifer Garner; Spike Jonze for Her, directed by Jonze, and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and the voice of Scarlett Johansson; and Bob Nelson for Nebraska, directed by Alexander Payne, and starring Bruce Dern, Will Forte, and June Squibb.
Note: Blue Jasmine marks Woody Allen's 21st WGA Award nomination. Allen has previously won WGA awards for Annie Hall (with Marshall Brickman), Broadway Danny Rose, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Midnight in Paris. Allen's other WGA nods, solo or shared, include What's New Pussycat, Interiors, Manhattan, Zelig, Radio Days, Bullets Over Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
In the Best Adapted Screenplay category, out of 41 eligible entries, the WGA Awards 2014 nominees are the following: Tracy Letts for August: Osage County, directed by John Well, and starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Ewan McGregor, and Dermot Mulroney; Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight, the trio's sequel to both Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, all three directed by Linklater, and starring Delpy and Hawke; Billy Ray for Captain Phillips, directed by Paul Greengrass, and starring Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi; Peter Berg for Lone Survivor, directed by Berg, and starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, and Ben Foster; and Terence Winter for The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, and Jean Dujardin.
In the Best Documentary Screenplay category, the nominees are Jeremy Scahill and David Riker for Dirty Wars, Sara Lukinson and Michael Stevens for Herblock — The Black & the White, Janet Tobias and Paul Laikin for No Place on Earth, Sarah Polley for Stories We Tell, and Alex Gibney for We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks. Only Dirty Wars and Stories We Tell are also found on the Oscar 2014 shortlist of Best Documentary Feature semi-finalists.
WGA Awards 2014 omissions
The two most glaring omissions from the list of nominations for the WGA Awards 2014 are both missing from the Best Original Screenplay roster: Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis, and Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón's Gravity. The former is a well-received comedy-drama, while the latter is an equally well-received — and immensely popular — thriller mixed with melodrama. Both, especially Gravity, are strong Best Picture Oscar contenders.
The absence of Inside Llewyn Davies is perhaps particularly surprising because Joel and Ethan Coen have been previously shortlisted for six WGA Awards, winning twice, for Fargo and No Country for Old Men. Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, and Justin Timberlake star in Inside Llewyn Davies, while Sandra Bullock and George Clooney topline Gravity.
Another surprising omission is Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith for Saving Mr. Banks, a John Lee Hancock-directed comedy-drama starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson. Saving Mr. Banks, which has been somewhat less well-received (and less popular) than some had expected, is another likely Best Picture Academy Award nominee.
Among the other eligible screenplays/screenwriters that failed to be shortlisted for the 2014 WGA Awards are: Michael Petroni for The Book Thief; Jason Reitman for Labor Day, starring Kate Winslet; Steve Conrad for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, directed and starring Ben Stiller; Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter for The Spectacular Now; and Nicole Holofcener for Enough Said, with James Gandolfini.
The 2013 WAG Award winners were Chris Terrio for Argo in the Best Adapted Screenplay category and Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty for Best Original Screenplay. Terrio also won the Academy Award, but Boal lost to Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained, which had been deemed ineligible for the WGA Awards.
WGA Awards 2014 Nominations
- American Hustle, Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell; Columbia Pictures.
- Blue Jasmine, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics.
- Dallas Buyers Club, Written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack; Focus Features.
- Her, Written by Spike Jonze; Warner Bros.
- Nebraska, Written by Bob Nelson; Paramount Pictures.
- August: Osage County, Screenplay by Tracy Letts; Based on his play; The Weinstein Company.
- Before Midnight, Written by Richard Linklater and Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke; Based on characters created by Richard Linklater and Kim Krizan; Sony Classics.
- Captain Phillips, Screenplay by Billy Ray; Based on the book A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty; Columbia Pictures.
- Lone Survivor, Written by Peter Berg; Based on the book by Marcus Lutrell with Patrick Robinson; Universal Pictures.
- The Wolf of Wall Street, Screenplay by Terence Winter; Based on the book by Jordan Belfort; Paramount Pictures.
- Dirty Wars, Written by Jeremy Scahill and David Riker; Sundance Selects.
- Herblock — The Black & The White, Written by Sara Lukinson and Michael Stevens; The Stevens Company.
- No Place on Earth, Written by Janet Tobias and Paul Laikin; Magnolia Pictures.
- Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley; Roadside Attractions.
- We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks; Written by Alex Gibney; Focus Features.
Photo of Cate Blanchett and Woody Allen on the Blue Jasmine set: Sony Pictures Classics.